The Physics and Engineering Department welcomed Dr. David Vogan, a worldfamous mathematician and professor of Mathematics at MIT. The lecture took place at 4:30pm on Friday, March 28th in the Ruth Cameron Auditorium in the Mann Student Center (note: this is a different location than the weekly seminar series). Dr. Vogan’s lecture titled”Inflatable Mathematics”is part of the 2014 Dr. John U. Free Seminar Series sponsored by the Physics and Engineering Department.
“One of the most powerful tools in mathematics is the Gaussian elimination method for solving systems of linear equations. This tool shows how to eliminate some unknowns in a system of equations, until finally you arrive at a lower triangular system that can be solved almost by inspection. The ‘inflatable’ in the title refers to the fact that a high-dimensional system of equations can be thought of as inflated from a low-dimensional one.
The same tool makes it possible to understand the geometry of some important spaces called Schubert varieties, by regarding them as ‘inflated’ from lower-dimensional Schubert varieties. I’ll explain the connection, and some of the combinatorial ideas used to describe the geometry. Finally, I’ll describe a (VERY) large computer calculation.”–Dr. David Vogan
From Dr. Vogan’s MIT profile – David Vogan is Professor of Mathematics and President of the American Mathematical Society (2013-15). He received the B.A. and S.M. degrees from the University of Chicago in 1974, and the Ph.D. from MIT in 1976 under the direction of Bertram Kostant. He continued as an Instructor, and Member of the Institute for Advanced Study, before joining the MIT mathematics faculty in 1979. His research interests include group representations and Lie algebras. He is a member of the research group Atlas of Lie groups and representations, which in 2007 computed the character table of the Lie group E8, attracting a great deal of international press.
Professor Vogan served as Chair of the Undergraduate Committee, 1984-5, 1986-87, 1996-97, and of the Graduate Committee 1993-4, & 1995-96. He chaired the Pure Mathematics Committee, 1997-99, before serving as Department Head, 1999-04. A former Sloan fellow, Professor Vogan was selected by the Department Faculty as the Robert E. Collins Distinguished Scholar in 2007. In 2011, he received the AMS Levi L. Conant Prize for his article, “The character table for E8,” Notices AMS, vol. 54 (2007). He is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences (1996) and Member of the National Academy of Sciences (2013).”-MIT Faculty Profile